I am thinking about taking my family on a cruise but I am so bewildered. I don't know where to start. I have been visiting these boards but there is so much to choose from. I will be traveling with my husband and 2 boys ages 10 and 14. They love water sports, so we definitely want to go where it is warm. What is the best ship You have ever traveled on and the most fun destination. Which ships offer the best kids activities? We are on a tight budget so I need to know where and when is the best time to travel? As you can see I am a real beginner in this area but I need a starting point. Thanks for any info you travel gurus can give me.
Check out Royal Caribbean's Voyager class ships. The kids clubs are supposed to be good (my son is only 2 so too young for it), and theres a ton to do on board: ice skating, rock wall climbing, inline skating, basketball, mini golf, pools, pool tables. Plus the ships are so big is fun just to explore! If you go during the holidays (or when kids are out of school) there are usually more kids than adults on board. As for where to go-everywhere is great. You need to look at each stop, and the excursions to get an idea of what you want to do. Also take into consideration the imact of the recent hurricanes. Cayman is a great stop (scuba, swimming with stingrays, snorkel) however it might not be fully operational when you want to go, and there may be some damage to the reefs. Most if not all stops have great beaches to hang out at on your own.
I also agree with any of the Royal Caribbean's Voyager class ships. They are so nice when cruising with family/kids. So many activities, especially if they enjoy water sports, along with rock climbing, ice skating or inline skating, plus there is an ice show that can't be missed. You will find them all year round in the Caribbean, so get in touch with a good travel agent and start checking exactly where you want to go and when.
Feel free to e-mail me and I can give you a name or two to help you get started.
In April 2004 we took our kids (10, 12 & 15) on the Carnival Inspiration to the Western Carribean. We all had a great time. Our family enjoys water activities and this itinerary was great for us. We had such a good time we're doing it again in April 2005 on the Miracle. We got 2 inside cabins side by side with the kids in one and adults in the other. We paid $499/pp for the first two in each cabin and $349 for the 3rd. We're too big a family to fit everyone in one cabin comfortably and we like having the privacy for the adults, plus the 2nd bathroom (the 12 & 15 y.o. are girls, need I say more!!). I found by booking early we got the best price as we travel during school vacations. I booked the April 2004 trip in late September/early October of 2003 and the April 2005 trip in June 2004. Our upcoming cruise has already gone up over $200 than what we paid. If you have to fly, I usually book my airfare in January for April. I've found its far enough out that I can still get a good price, but not so far out that none of the airlines are offering any deals yet. We fly in the day before and stay overnight. Hope this helps and if you have any questions please feel free to email me.
Celebrity Century 1/09
Carnival Destiny 10/07
Carnival Destiny 9/06
Monarch of the Seas 3/06
Carnival Inspiration 8/05
Carnival Miracle 4/05
Carnival Inspiration 4/04
Sovereign of the Seas 4/03
Yes, we did Voyager a few years ago, I am physically challenged and find the rock wall and skating rink totally useless, we did like Johnny Rockets, but there is enough to eat on almost any cruise. Carnivals Kids programs are much more professionally run, and my kds like it more than any. If they have fun so will mom and dad........
bakersuzie - your question about Princess. Princess would be a great choice for you and your family. Look into the Grand Class ships - the big ones. The new ones have an outdoor movie theatre. A big plus for Princess is that they have freshwater pools unlike the other lines that have saltwater pools, and the pools are open 24hrs. The kids loved being able to go for a swim before bed. Princess has great kids/teen programs, they even have a new kids program thats all about learning about the oceans. Lots of sports, computer/video games for the older teens. We were 2 familes with 3 three teens (17,15,13) and our kids had a blast. Go during winter break if you want more familes with kids aboard. Princess limits the number of kids aboard which is really good thing.
We got our video from our TA. You might be able to get one from the cruise lines web sites.
I would pick either an Eastern Caribbean ( great beaches, snorkeling & shopping) or a Western Caribbean (swimming with Sting Rays, climbing water falls, great snorkeling, Mayan Ruins, dolphin swims, good beaches)